Who Should Have The Vote??

A hundred years ago today some women were given the vote in Britain!! That is something to be celebrated.

Suffragettes -Annie_Kenney_and_Christabel_Pankhurst

Unfortunately I don’t think it is quite the triumph it should have been. Firstly it should never have taken so long and secondly it was only partial.

Some colonies in Australia and some parts of the USA gave limited voting rights to women in the 19th Century. Finland was the first European country to give limited rights to women. Then Russia, Norway and Denmark. Britain, for all of its fight for human rights, lagged behind. However, they did not lag as far behind as Greece, Monaco and Switzerland. They did not give voting rights to women until as late as 1952 and incredibly 1971.

What a terrible state of affairs. Women were seen as second-class citizens. They had few rights.

In Britain those rights had to be fought for like all rights before them. They were not given lightly. The Suffragettes and Suffragists all campaigns and fought for women’s rights and eventually they won.

I have been reading a lot about why women weren’t considered equal. Partly that was religious, partly it was because they were viewed as physically and emotionally inferior and unstable. They were considered to be intellectually inferior and hysterical. All this seems unbelievable now but some people still believe this. In many parts of the world women are most definitely seen as second-class citizens, even possessions of males – of no more worth than other possessions.

I have also been reading other views of who should be eligible to vote?

Some people still believe women should not have that right. Saudi Arabia only gave women suffrage in 2011. They will be able to vote in 2015 for the first time. The Vatican City is the only place they are not allowed to vote. Wow!!

Some people in the USA think that Black people should not be allowed to vote. They actively try to obstruct their registration.

Some people believe that people should have to have an IQ test before being allowed to vote. They claim that democracy is too important to allow unintelligent people to have a vote.

Some people believe that only people who have an understanding of politics and democracy should be allowed the vote. An understanding of politics is necessary to understand what the philosophy of the different parties is and what type of society they would build. So there would have to be a test to give people the right to vote.

Some people believe that people should be able to vote at sixteen and some only at twenty one. Some argue that sixteen is too young to understand the ramifications and that brains have not developed until twenty one. Others argue that sixteen year olds are very aware, they have the right to consent to sex, get married, get a job, join the armed forces, to drive, pay taxes and should be allowed to vote.

There are new battlefields being drawn up on human rights and democracy. What do you think?

10 thoughts on “Who Should Have The Vote??

  1. Not so fast there old man!
    16 year olds can only marry with parental consent, they cannot without.
    At 16 they aren’t yet old enough to drive or join the army – that is at 17
    16 year olds do not pay tax either.

    1. If regular army, officers can join aged 18 to 26 years and soldiers can join between 16 and 32 years and 11 months.
      You can drive a car when you are 16 if you get, or have applied for, the enhanced rate of the mobility component of Personal Independence Payment
      What age do you have to be to ride a motorcycle?
      Licenses are required for operators at least 16 years old.
      Children can only start full-time work once they’ve reached the minimum school leaving age – they can then work up to a maximum of 40 hours a week – i.e. 16. Then they pay tax.
      Yes, as I said – you can get married at 16.
      So this old man seems to know more than you Mary.

  2. I started work at 17, and first voted at 21. As for getting Married well my mother objected when I married at 25. For me 16 is far too young to vote and on that I won’t be changed. You mention the Blacks in America and how some are being prevented from voting. What I want to know is, what about the American Native Indians, what is their right to vote, what about their rights generally, they are a forgotten race, disgustingly left to rot on Reservations still. They appear to have no rights.

    1. I think the Native Americans do have the vote but they have had a shoddy deal. They have been treated appallingly.
      The reason I would like sixteen year olds to vote is that I would like to see them become engaged more with politics and democracy. I know at school we used to have some great debates. Their minds were lively and energetic. They were full of passion and had strong views. I’d like to get them involved before that diminishes.

  3. Well! It is a mess today but I think 16 year olds are as intelligent as others and what they may lack in experience they probably might gain by trying to be informed. My class of 16 year olds ‘voted’ in the General Election dear Gordon Brown lost. They had really read all the manifestos and argued from different view points. Result, same as the Election, coalition needed! Not sure what we need in the UK but I think I would go for a progressive coalition of Labour, LIb Dems and the Green Party led by Caroline Lucas!And listening to ordinary folk and their fears might help. Somehow this right of right needs to be put back in a box.

    1. My kids at school also did mock elections and showed huge insight and passion. I’d let them vote. I think we need their idealism.
      I like your idea. That sort of coalition sounds good to me. But I do like Corbyn’s policies and seeing him speak is very inspiring. We certainly need shot of this bunch of right-wing extremists.

      1. Georgina – what is this madness that is in humans that they keep going back to these obnoxious, black and white fascist answers?

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